Spanish Rice with Variations

Spanish Rice with Beans

Spanish Rice with Beans

In A Week of Weekday Meals, I mentioned making Spanish rice. My mother made this all the time, and I am going to be making it more often.

Spanish rice doesn’t refer to a particular type of rice. It’s a cooking method. Instead of just cooking rice with water, you saute onions, add the rice, and brown it for a few minutes before continuing to cook. Spanish rice can be a side dish or a one-pot main course with the addition of meat or beans. My mother usually added an egg at the end for protein and to hold it together.

Most people have onion, garlic, rice and a can of beans in the house. And it takes only 10-15 minutes to prepare.

Spanish rice.

Serves 6 as a side dish, 2-3 as a main course.


  • One onion, peeled.
  • Two garlic cloves, peeled.
  • Two tablespoons oil, less if you are using a non-stick pan.
  • Two cups clean rice, any variety.
  • Hot water, broth, or cooking liquid from beans or vegetables.
  • One tablespoon tomato paste.
  • Optional: One cup cubed cooked chicken or turkey, or one cup cooked beans.
  • Optional: One egg.


  • Drop the garlic into the food processor and process until fine.
  • Cut the onion in half and place in the food processor bowl. Chop until fine.
  • Heat the oil in a large frypan or skillet and add the onion and garlic.
  • Saute for five minutes, until onion is transparent.
  • Add the rice. I used basmati.
  • Stir the rice for about three minutes until brown.
  • Stir in the tomato paste.
  • Add the hot liquid and stir the rice until the mixture begins to boil. I remember the loud hissing noise from the pan when my mother poured in the boiling water.
  • Add salt or soy/Tamari sauce.
  • (Add beans.)
  • Lower the heat, cover the pan, and set the timer for 17 minutes (30 if you are using brown rice).
  • (Stir in cooked chicken, meat or raw egg. Cook until heated through.)

Variations: Add other vegetables, such as pepper or celery. Add other cooked vegetables, or prepared tomato sauce. Add herbs or Tamari sauce.

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  1. I too enjoy basmati rice but I usually cook it in a rice-cooker and then mix with other ingredients in a wok. As with Spanish rice, the rice retains its nutritients.

  2. “And it takes only 10-15 minutes to prepare” – I’ve learned that one can adopt recipes like this one using whole grain rice by parboiling the whole grain rice. Of course, it’s not going to take the 15 minutes then! I like adding celery for more flavor.

  3. I make this all the time, and never knew it was called Spanish rice. I add whatever veg I have in the house (often medditerranean vegetables – eggplant, zucchini, pepper, and a dollop of tomato paste).

  4. I can feel how delicious the meal will be, though I have no idea how to cook. 🙂

  5. I make a simplified version of this dish. While I’m sautéing the onions (I use a lot more than just one!) in one pot, I cook the rice in another. When the onions are golden-brown and the rice is done, I add the rice to the onions and heat through. Then I add ketchup and soy sauce, and serve hot.

  6. I enjoy the Spanish rice but I do add my own bits to it. Quite makes a difference to eating plain rice most of the time.